The Guardian
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Israel’s Netanyahu begins contentious Iran speech in U.S.


THE Israeli prime minister has begun a controversial speech to the U.S. Congress, in which he will warn against a nuclear deal with Iran.

It comes a day after Benjamin Netanyahu told a pro-Israel lobby group that Iran was enveloping the world with its “tentacles of terror”.

His speech to Congress was arranged without consulting the White House, and it has reacted with irritation.

It comes two weeks before Mr Netanyahu will fight for re-election in Israel.

The White House has also complained that the speech is interfering in domestic politics by trying to swell domestic opposition to any Iran deal.

Talks on Iran’s nuclear programme are nearing a critical end-of-March deadline for an outline agreement to be reached.

The US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China are seeking to reach agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr Netanyahu has insisted he means to show no disrespect to Mr Obama with his speech, but that a deal with Iran “could threaten the survival of Israel”.

There are reports that sources close to the Iran negotiations currently under way in Montreux, Switzerland are concerned that Mr Netanyahu could reveal sensitive details about the deal being forged.

But the Voice of Israel radio also reported he had “moderated” the text in recent hours.

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